Know Your Impact #sol20
February 4, 2020
Three times a year we have grade level ‘data’ meetings. The worst of them are just a listing of students who need ‘more’. The best of them are a real examination of our work, our obstacles, and our way forward.
I was turning our Winter ‘data’ meetings around in my head ten days ago when I got the idea to take that deep dive with the teachers in our building into our mid-year data. Then we spent a couple of hours with our literacy consultant examining that data in light of our next steps with students. When we came to our meetings this week, I wondered, do we have anything fresh to talk about? Will be be able to synthesize all the work we have done and move ahead with ‘fresh legs’?
I made a powerpoint with a few questions to look for and was hoping to shift the narrative so to speak. On my way to work I listen to this podcast with John Hattie. While John Hattie was speaking about students, he said that is most important is feedback, what students want to know is how is what I am doing ok, what comes next, and the bridge to getting there. (big paraphrase) . It struck me. That’s what we want to know too.
I started with this visual of an iceberg comparing the knowledge I had coming into this meeting and the knowledge they brought collectively to the work. I continued with my story of listening to John Hattie and my desire for us to begin not with deficits but with bright spot.
Giving time between each, teachers recorded their bright spots noticed in their data discussing as they presented each what drew them to those conclusions. There were many agreements among them and the lifting of the tone and the energy of the meeting was palpable. Every single grade level team filled the space for bright spots to overflowing. My heart was filled to capacity. Our minds were stretched and we continued from a place of abundance.
Next we moved to ‘where to next?’, Hattie’s words for the information that is critical to students. I had a small sign next to the chart that said 85 days. That’s how many are left with these students in this grade. 85 days. Again, reflection, research, discussion, and a strong list of ‘goals’ as it were for moving forward. That list was enlightening and inspiring.
Then a moment for obstacles, for we have to give them their due. What is, might, and will get in the way with these good, good plans? I anticipated that small triangle not to be big enough for what might stand in the way, but with all of that positivity filling them up, there wasn’t much room for doubt. Even as they listed the obstacles, many were thinking of ‘work-arounds’.
I shifted the next bit of work in each grade, landing finally on choosing one difficulty related to a student or one obstacle and working through some possible solutions with the team.
Imperfectly perfect meetings started with reflections of success and ending with plans for more.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for assisting my transformation from a teacher of reading who writes to a writer who teachers literacy. Read so much more inspiration here every Tuesday.